Protest in support of the workers and unions of Wisconsin
26 Feb 11


Very interesting commentary on our local paper and this action from a buddy of mine:

While it is heartening to see Dick Polman's attention to the labor movement in Wisconsin (American Debate, 2/27), it was disconcerting that the gathering of over a thousand people in Love Park this Saturday, 2/26, only blocks away from the Inquirer clock-tower, got no coverage whatsoever. With participants from Bethlehem, Allentown, Camden, Princeton and elsewhere -- to join concerned Philadelphians and suburbanites in support of labor's right to negotiate -- one would think that the story merited a mention in Local News, if not a prominent place alongside the Front Section Wisconsin coverage. Perhaps a description of cars honking at 15th and Arch to support demonstrators singing to the traffic might have been appropriate. Perhaps some notes on Rabbi Waskow's Sabbath sermon, or the labor anecdotes of leaders and rank-and-file membership, would have added local color to a national issue of critical import. Three network news teams recorded small spots for their evening and nightly news. Somehow, a smaller Tea-Party gathering got prominent coverage on the Inquirer front page. Polman wonders why labor is on the ropes. Perhaps labor could catch a break from its local paper of record.


Of course, the protesters who are supporting the workers and unions of Wisconsin had to compete with the very, very, terribly important second anniversary of that astro-turf, billionaire-funded group, the Tea Party. Which, well, y'know makes sense, because what's a real demonstration concerning real issues of concern to real people compared to one that features TeeVee coverage from Fox News, where very loud people dress up in tri-corner hats and which puts out formal press releases?
BTW, temperatures dropped on the night of this protest, but attendance in Madison, WI was up to about 100,000 people.


So remember back in October of last year when the British decided to take a hack, slash and burn approach to their budget? David Broder noticed at the time and he thought their idea was wonderful. He hailed it as a deliberate move away from Keynesian economics.

How's that move workin' out for y'all? Er, well, um, not well at all, actually. As the economist Dean Baker explained early this month “As predicted, this looks very much like a path to pain and stagnation, not healthy growth.” So why American Governors want to repeat the British approach isn't clear at all.

more crowd

BTW, MoveOn advised its members that red and white were Wisconsin colors, which is why red is so dominant in these pictures. Very interesting view from the other side of the aisle is that public-employee unions reduced the expected GOP gain in statehouses for the 2010 election from 20 down to 12. Naturally, Republicans were unhappy about this.

"We are never going to win most of these states until we can do something about those unions," one key operative said at a Washington dinner in November. "They have so much incentive to work hard politically because they are, in effect, electing their own bosses -- the Democrats who are going to pay them better and give them more benefits. And the Democrats have the incentive to be generous."

This is how top Republicans see the matter: a vicious cycle of union-to-Democrat-to-union power that they are determined to break.


Problem: What happens if Republicans break the union-Democratic party alliance?

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.

And gee, wow, amazingly enough, surprise, surprise...

These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests.


Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

Rabbi Waskow

That's Rabbi Arthur Waskow giving our gathering a blessing.

And the agenda of the Republican Party in Wisconsin is nothing to laugh at. This is true, full-scale class warfare.

The police in the Wisconsin State Capital were supposed to have cleared out the building by 4:00pm today. The Capitol Police Chief decided to let them stay. Snow fell throughout the day, but an estimated 125,000 protesters were in Madison and thousands more rallied across the state.


The wman holding tbe bullhorn was the chief MoveOn speaker who introduced everyone. This page from MoveOn features scenes from all 50 states (Warning: it takes a long time to load).

on the road

And yes, we let the passing cares know that we were there! We got lot and lots and lots of honks in solidarity.